Invasion of Giant Mosquitoes

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As spring progresses so do the numbers of insect pest calls in to the Extension office. It is always obvious when key insects have made an appearance, especially when you get six calls about the same pest in one day.

Such is true about the crane fly, also know as giant mosquitoes or mosquito killers. Crane flies, Tipula sp., have long legs with a wing span of up to two inches and do indeed, resemble giant mosquitoes. But, they do not bite or sting humans or animals. They do not carry any types of diseases and most are considered to be beneficial insects. They do not feed, other than an occasional sip of nectar, and live for no more that two or three days.

The cause for alarm comes from the phenomenon of huge numbers of these insects appearing all at once in urban lawn areas. They can be found in huge numbers skimming across the lawn and resting in shady places on the sides of houses or in shrubs around the home.

This usually happens in the spring just after periods of rain, followed by warm weather which precisely describes Burke County’s recent weather pattern. The larvae of the crane fly are worm-like creatures with thick, leathery skin. They live in damp patches of soil or at the water’s edge of creeks and streams.

But despite their alarming size, their resemblance to mosquitoes and their huge numbers appearing at once, they are harmless. No control is necessary and they will disappear as quickly as they appeared.